Dino Wiand emerges unexpectedly from the seated punters in the single best moment of the show. This confident start by a big lad who looks like he could handle himself on the comedy stage lasts all of two minutes.
He’s got nothing. Especially not anything resembling the show’s blurb – an escaped Yorkshire Ripper pitching for Yorkshire independence – a concept which would’ve been a tricky sell, but would at least have been something. He briefly acknowledges he’s ditched the idea, and proceeds with some broken stand-up. Everything is from notes, with long pauses while he sifts them. “Just pass them out, and we’ll read them ourselves,” says one member of a surprisingly large morning crowd in the Three Sisters’ Wee Room. Even before the rot has set in, when he still has the benefit of the doubt, he interrupts his own jokes to tell us we won’t get them, thereby sealing their fate.
There’s maybe a passable idea about finding a cheap flight deal by flying via another airport – Glasgow to Edinburgh via Casablanca. With the associated tales of what happened on the way, there’s the beginnings of a routine. But it’s five minutes tops, nothing that merits booking his own room for a Fringe run. Had he simply dressed as the Yorkshire Ripper and spent an hour reading a pro-independence manifesto, it would have been much funnier.
Long before the scheduled end, he’s checking the time on his phone, and audience members are exchanging glances wondering who’s going to make a break for it first. Wiand could have survived five minutes on a compilation show. He clearly has no reluctance to get in front of people, and has a good presence about him, if only he had sufficient rehearsed material to string together.
Laughing Horse and PBH both need to tighten up, stop cramming every available hour with anyone who wants to have a pop, stop trying to outdo each other in a venue land grab which is nothing more than a race to the bottom. Letting anyone do anything anywhere might be very “spirit of the Fringe” but it’s doing no-one any favours, least of all Wiand.
[EDIT 13/8/17: Dino Wiand has, under threat of legal action, asked us to specify that he was ill during this performance. It is the opinion of this reviewer that while Wiand indeed mentioned he was ill, the effects of that illness were not substantially apparent. It also does not alter the fact that he was not performing the advertised show, nor that he was using notes, nor that he had a shortage of material. Footage of him performing a seven minute set of very similar material is available on YouTube for people to view if they choose.]